We are working with Mencap and Sheffield Voices who will be helping contact people and encouraging them to feedback their views about learning disability services in Sheffield. You can also feedback by filling in the survey here – www.bit.ly/FirshillRise  

The NHS South Yorkshire Sheffield place team wants to modernise and transform specialist Learning Disability/Autism services.

The existing service in Sheffield Health and Social Care Trust (SHSC) was commissioned some years ago with three separate teams, including a community learning disability team, (CLDT) community intensive support team (CISS) and an eight bedded Assessment and Treatment Unit, Firshill Rise Inpatient, which opened in 2017.

Over the years, due to the Transforming Care Programme, the demand and need for specialist inpatient beds for this specific population has greatly decreased. Analysis of admissions of people with learning disability now suggests that we would need only capacity for 1-2 beds per year, as we are no longer experiencing the demands for inpatient care for people with learning disability or autism that we used to.

Transforming Care aims to improve the lives of people with a learning disability or autism. It says there should be fewer inpatient beds as people should be able to live in the least restrictive place possible, such as their own homes, but receive active care and interventions if they develop behaviours that are challenging to support in these environments, so avoiding inappropriate admissions.

Many times when people go to into learning disability and autism specialist hospitals due to breakdown of their original home placement, they may stay there many months longer than they need to as they can often lose their tenancies, when some care providers refuse to take the person back when they are ready for discharge. Additionally, people can lose independence skills that are difficult to regain to be able to live back in the community.

We have improved some community clinical and other services to prevent people from having to go to learning disability and autism inpatient services, over the Transforming Care programme period, but want to invest more in prevention, early intervention, and to provide individuals, families and care staff with increased access to support from specialist learning disability and autism clinicians in people’s own homes over extended service hours, as hospitals are not homes.

Firshill Rise

We spend £1.3 million each year on seven inpatient beds at Firshill Rise. Following the success of the Transforming Care programme we now believe that we only need a maximum of two beds for people with a learning disability in crisis, when inpatient treatment may be unavoidable.

It is not viable to operate a specialist learning disability and autism inpatient unit in Sheffield on such small numbers.

Whilst we are paying for more beds than we currently need, this will prevent us from investing more in the community clinical services to better support people to prevent crisis and home/placement breakdown.

We have been asking people about how we might be able to give better community support. Some of the money that we spend on beds that are no longer required could be better invested in these community interventions, such as increasing the hours and days that these community teams operate.

The Care Quality Commission inspected Firshill Rise and said that it was not giving the care needed and Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust agreed to not take any more admissions. Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust have since relooked at their model and believe that they could improve their community services to prevent the need for as many inpatient beds.

Involvement and engagement

NHS South Yorkshire are running an involvement and engagement process for Firshill Rise. This will focus on the reduced demand for inpatient care and what a future model needs to be for Sheffield to secure good community services, but to ensure access to inpatient care as close to Sheffield as possible if unavoidable.

We are working with SHSC to ensure that local people who may use this service are involved in the development and consideration of proposals, and that their individual legal duties around involvement are met.

The involvement phase will run from 23 January until 23 March 2023. We will be working with existing groups and community partners to ensure that people are informed and have an opportunity to be involved in this work.

How to have your say

Have your say by filling in the survey here – www.bit.ly/FirshillRise

We are also working with Mencap and Sheffield Voices who will be contacting people and encouraging them to feedback their views.

We will ask service users, their families, carers and stakeholders:

  • What type of support is needed to avoid having a crisis?
  • What type of support is needed for those who are in crisis?
  • How have you been impacted by the temporary closure of Firshill Rise?
  • What are the potential issues of having learning disability crisis beds outside Sheffield?
  • Do you have anything else to say about Learning Disability services?

How will the feedback be used?

The feedback received through the involvement stage will be used alongside financial, quality and other commissioning information to develop viable options for the future Learning Disability crisis beds. Arrangements will be made to include people with lived experience and/or their representatives in this process.

Depending on the outcomes of the options appraisal, a formal consultation process may need to take place. A full consultation plan would be developed in this instance.

For further information

Please contact syicb-sheffield.mhldportfolio@nhs.net if you have any further questions or comments.

An easy read engagement document can be accessed here